Legal Guide

Commonly Asked Questions About Product Liability Law

A study conducted by Larson (2003) defines product liability law as follows:

"The administrative body concerns accountability and all legal responsibility of manufacturers and subsequent chain of distribution and retail for damages inflicted upon by the products they create."

An individual injured by a defective product is within their rights to file a case for product liability. Essentially, product liability law holds manufacturers, distributors, and retailers responsible for injuries caused by their products. A manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of a product means one is legally liable for the damages caused by a defective product.

What Makes a Product Defective?

A product is said to be defective if:

  • There is a flaw in the product's design; the presence of a design defect means all products with the same design are defective. The manufacturer is liable for damages if the product was aimed at injuring people and for its foreseeable misuse. Some examples include children's products containing choking hazards, structurally unstable products, and unexpectedly flammable items.
  • There is a manufacturer defect – that is, there is an error in the manufacturing process. In this defect category, the design is okay, but the manufacturer made mistakes in the production of the product. For example, the insecure fastening of product pieces, installing outdated competent, or using the wrong color indicates safety precautions.
  • There is a marketing defect where the manufacturer failed to warn about the potential hazards of using the product.

What Legal Theories Support Product Liability Claims?

Several legal theories support a claim of product liability, including:

  • Strict Liability Laws

Under this legal theory, any fault or negligence of a producer or retailer is immaterial if a product is deemed defective. In this case, either the producer or retailer is liable for the injuries the product causes.

  • Negligence

Under this theory, the injured will prove that the producer or retailer of a product is obligated to protect them from injury. They will prove that their breach of duty caused the injury.

  • Warranty Breach

A person can also lay a product liability claim if there is a breach of warranty. This theory typically focuses on three warranties: implied warranty of merchantability and express and implied warranty of fitness for a specific purpose. 

Can an Attorney Help Prove Product Liability?

If you were injured by a particular product, working with a lawyer can improve your chances of successfully laying a claim. Below are ways an attorney can prove liability:

  • Establishing that a person has suffered some loss due to their use of the product, with physical injuries as proof.
  • Proving that some defect caused the damage or injury. In this case, the person needs to prove that there was a safer design or the manufacturer was aware of the defect.
  • The legal theories listed above establish that the manufacturer or seller is responsible for the defect.
  • Proving that the injured individual was faultless and unaware of the product's danger and assumed risk.
  • Filing the lawsuit on time; product liability claims come with statute limitations, depending on the state.


“You need an attorney to help you pursue your product liability claim if you are a victim. They will analyze your case's facts and investigate the product and how it caused the damage,”says attorney Robert Hammers of Hammers Law Firm.

You will receive compensation and punitive damages for losses upon a successful claim. These include the loss of wages, future income, current, and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.

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